NOTE: Since the publication of this review, Meat and Shake has relaunched as a Southern Smokehouse, and has implemented a new menu. Thus, this review is somewhat void, and will be updated accordingly, pending a further visit.
An established veteran of the gourmet burger scene in London, many rant and rave about Meat and Shake, and many more swear by it. Sadly, whilst many hold this veteran in high esteem, I’m not quite sure it meets the expectations that precede it. All the meat served here is halal.
I’ve visited Meat and Shake on two occasions, with Steak and also with the Addams family. On my first visit, I ordered the rib and cheese burger, along with a portion of dirty fries and a peanut butter milkshake, whilst on my second visit, I opted for the “Smoking Bandit”, homemade fries, and an Oreo milkshake, whilst Steak opted for a “Raging Dog” hotdog.
The rib and cheese burger consisted of pulled rib beef, topped with Monterey jack cheese and barbecue sauce. The pulled beef was a little tough, though flavoursome, whilst the barbecue sauce was a little scarce, unlike the cheese which smothered the beef and did well to complement it. The brioche buns that encompassed the burger were thick, though of fairly low quality. Moreover, the burger was very dry, and this detracted from the enjoyability somewhat.
The dirty fries consist, not of recycled fries from the last customer (at least I hope not), but of fries covered with chilli con carne and jalapeños. The chilli con carne and jalapeños made sure to make the fries flavoursome and addictive, though the fries themselves were of a fairly low quality.
The smoking bandit consisted of a 6oz beef patty covered in red lettuce and cheddar cheese, served within a cloud of smoke underneath a glass dome. I assume this burger was conceived as a 2-for-1 meal deal for shisha-smokers who are short on money. Next time my GP enquires as to whether I smoke, I’m not sure I’ll be able to say “No”.
After lifting the dome and pretending the dissipating smoke was an evil spirit running in terror at the sight of my face, I dug in. I had ordered the burger medium-rare, and medium-rare it came, with a thick band of pink running throughout the centre of the patty. It was extremely moist and extremely tender, though, it was also extremely bland. The patty itself lacked any flavour or seasoning whatsoever, which was very disappointing given that it had been cooked so well, and was of a reasonably good quality. The brioche bun too was sub-par, being of a very low quality, and having no distinct flavour or element to bring to the palate.
The turkey bacon that accompanied the burger bailed the patty out somewhat, and was sweet, sticky and flavoursome, as were the caramelised onions. The cheddar cheese had absorbed a lot of the smoke, and had a strong, smokey essence which was very pleasant, whilst the chipotle mayonnaise was as mild as the tomato ketchup. All of these components performed somewhat of a rescue operation for the burger. Though the smoking bandit was fairly flavoursome overall as a result of these secondary elements, there was no subtlety in the fact that these elements were simply masking an otherwise mediocre burger. A bit like spraying air freshener when – I’m not going to finish that sentence.
The homemade fries also had points of weakness. Whilst they were fairly flavoursome, the seasoning was definitely missing something, and as a result, they failed to deliver much of a punch. The chips were also fairly thin and of a low quality, rendering them an unexciting but adequate side.
Milkshakes seem to be the only flawless items at Meat and Shake. Both the Oreo and peanut butter milkshakes were wonderfully thick and smooth in consistency, with a strong and powerful flavour. The large versions of the shakes are also – (you guessed it) – pretty large, and served in big metal cups. Great milkshake and lots of it.
Adjacent to my burger sat the “Raging Dog”, which consisted of a Frankfurt beef sausage, chilli con carne and sour cream and mustard, within a set of brioche hot dog buns. The beef sausage was evidently readymade, but flavoursome nonetheless, whilst the chilli con carne was mildly sweet but ultimately rather bland. The brioche buns were thick, but they too were of a low quality, whilst the mustard that covered the hot dog was very very mild, which Steak was pleased with as she’s not a big mustard fan. My take on it is that if you don’t feel like a horse has kicked you in the nostrils, it’s not mustard, but there we are. The jalapeños stood in for the mustard anyway, providing bursts of heat with each bite. The Monterey jack cheese which was also supposed to be present in the hot dog was absent, which was a shame as it could have added a boost of flavour.
Value For Money: 2/5
Prices are fairly reasonable, with burgers costing around £7-£10 without sides, which cost around £3-£5, whilst milkshakes will set you back around £4-£6. However, the generally low quality of components used in much of the food at Meat and Shake detracts from the experience somewhat. The flavours and textures in a lot of the dishes are unfortunately compromised, and higher quality components may resolve this.
Waiters and waitresses here are very friendly and very attentive, ensuring that your meal goes smoothly. The only reason I’ve given a 4.5 and not a 5 is because on our second visit, the manager quickly thrust the bill onto our table as soon as I put my knife and fork down. Needless to say, we found it a little rude. To be fair, he was probably disgusted that I ate my burger with a knife and fork and wanted nothing more to do with me.
“MEAT AND SHAKE” it says on the wall, in big light-up letters, just in case anyone knocks their head on the overhanging lamps and suffers amnesia. Meat and Shake’s diner decor consists of wooden furniture, a bare brick wall, overhanging lamps, the head of a reindeer named Claude, and an assortment of booths and wooden furniture. It’s not the most glamorous diner in town, but it’s good enough for a catch up with friends or a casual birthday affair.
The restaurant itself is a 5-minute walk from Tooting Bec station, and parking should be fairly easy to find nearby.
It’s quite relaxed in Meat and Shake, and you can easily enjoy some privacy as you wonder whether your burger is made of beef or of Claude the reindeer.
Meat and Shake, a seasoned veteran of the halal gourmet burger scene that needs a little more seasoning in it’s gourmet burgers. Whilst it’s probably worth paying a visit, I wouldn’t stumble over myself to do so. With a little more work, Meat and Shake could easily reach the height of its own reputation, but, at present, it falls a little short.
Meat and Shake,
47 Upper Tooting Road,
Telephone: 020 8355 4496